T Nation

Question About Belts


I've been toying with the idea of buying a belt and was just hoping for a little advice.

So, here is the situation. I've been lifting (like a girl) for a few years but recently have become interested in powerlifting. I'm not strong at all but I would like to compete. (I started focusing more on squat, dl, bench this summer and pulled 175 for a dl PR this past week...just to give you an idea of how new and not strong I am)

When is it a good idea to use a belt? I've gone through a couple threads about belts, haven't really found a good answer. I know that you should only use them on heavy sets, but is it wise/necessary to use as a beginner? I'm thinking that it might be smarter to learn how to use it properly as a beginner rather than trying to adjust later. But then again I'm probably completely over thinking this and it probably doesn't make a huge difference either way.


The biggest problem with a belt is that it is easy to become dependent on it. This why most people will tell you to use it only for your heavy sets. When you break it down, people become dependent on it because they neglect their core strength. I think a belt is great tool especially for squats because I can push against the belt and create greater inter-abdominal pressure.

I don't really think there is a learning curve for a belt. It might take a session or two to get used to it, but it is pretty easy. If there is a tricky part, it is figuring how tight that you want it. I like it a little loose because I can push out against it better.

As a beginner I don't believe that you need the belt. In fact, I would recommend not using a belt. You are still learn the basics of technique. I believe that the belt might negatively affect the learning process.


thanks! thats pretty much what I thought.

It seems like everyone has been using them lately and I was starting to think I was missing out on something really cool. I guess seeing the guy curling with a belt should have been enough to know that I'm not missing out on anything cool :slightly_smiling:


Nah, don't use the belt, unless you're trying for a new personal best. Even then, I think you're probably fine without it.

And no, you're not overthinking anything. It's good to have another person interested in PLing though, kudos to you!

How's your training look like, if I may ask?


I bought one of those $90 belts several months before my first competition. I used it a few times, decided I felt more comfortable beltless and haven't used it since. I even went without in my first meet. I set a 20lb squat PR and a 30lb deadlift PR (441 and 531 at 194).

You really don't have to learn how to use a belt. If you want to buy it and have $90 to burn, do it. It's not necessary, though, and you'll be better off the more time you spend training without one.

I'd recommend you wait until you have your first meet picked out. Order a belt, train with it for a few weeks and see what you think.


belts not necassary. I think it is a crutch cause we have muscles in our belly that do the same thing as a belt so if they are strong you dont need one.


Oh Lord, I'm the first one who isn't on some anti belt crusade?. Definitely get a belt and don't be ashamed to use it.


Hahahahaha yusss!!

To be hoenst for me, beltless squat training is just as important as belted. I like to go most of the year beltless and build up a good enough level of core strength so that when I get into a suit and wraps I don't get pancaked by the overload.


If you are interested in Powerlifting competition, you need a belt. It does help you lift more in the squat & deadlift.


I use my belt all the time.

Wearing your belt keeps you tighter. I for one don't want to chance getting loose with over 600lbs on my back in the hole.

I think there are better ways to keep your "core" strong. Heavy reverse hypers, deads, ab pulldowns, ab wheel, side bends, etc. Key word being heavy.

I've never understood the whole crutch argument. Have you ever seen someone smoke a 605 squat with a belt only to get crushed by 225 beltless? Maybe you have, I just haven't.


Agreed. The reality of things is that guys who train, for example at Jackals and do the majority of their squat training beltless, as a generalization require less accesory work for abdominal strength than lifters who spend more time in their belts.

The bottom line is with very few exceptions, one of which is Raw Power who posts here, I know of no competitive lifters who don't own a belt and have their own criteria for it's use.


Aragorn, I have a log over in muscle sorority if you want to see details, but in general workouts consist of heavy squat, dl and bench at lower reps and higher rep assistance stuff like GMs, GHR, lunges, rows, tri ext....

link to log


Oh boy, I didn't expect such controversy! :slight_smile:

Just to clarify, I do not plan on buying the biggest baddest belt I can find and use it on every work out for everything. I know that it would be best to use in PR/competition situations and it is possible to become dependent on it.

That being said, I'm trying to figure out whether buying one now (or in the near future) would be smart. Belts can get pretty pricey and I'd hate to buy one and regret it. So, I wanted to do a little research and get some advice before deciding either for or against.

Thanks for the input!


A squat belt killed my father and raped my mother.

But seriously, I just use it on my heaviest sets.


Buckeye girl, read these articles by Paul Chek. He goes into detail in the use of belts, intra-abdonminal forces, spinal stability with belts and spinal stability without belts, their effects, etc.... They are long, but very very good.

(abs in and out)

(strong back and beltless I)

(strong back and beltless II)

I don't use belts at all.


EliteFTS sells the best belts if you're going to buy one.

Belts should be used to increase your stability through the ring tension effect of pushing your abs out against the belt and bracing yourself even more than you could without a belt.

Belts should be used on sets where you're going for a 1-3RM.


I don't understand people saying "belts should only be used for your heaviest sets".

Fair enough don't train in one all the time, but like any other piece of equipment I wouldn't expect to put it on and get the max benefit from it straight away. Like it doesn't happen with a suit or wraps, and I know that a belt isn't exactly technical to learn how to use, but I tthink it would be worth learning how to best utilise it if you're going for heavy attempts in it.


I think this is the final straw for me on this website. It has really turned into bodybuilding.com version 2.0. This girl says she's interesting in COMPETING IN POWERLIFTING and 90% of the responders tell her NOT TO BUY A POWER BELT. Absolutely ridiculous.

By the way buckeye girl, EliteFTS.com is having a belt sale as we speak. Their retro belt, which is what I have, is on sale for about 40 bucks. It's more than enough belt for me (455 squat/455 deadlift as of now) so it should definitely be good enough to use for years to come. Buy one!


I fell your pain man......... people are a bunch of retards.
My belt is a tool, a tool to let me lift more weight which therefore makes me stronger, I couldn't imagine doing "heavy" farmers walks without a belt.

I use a loose belt on all my deadlifts and squats over 90%

I also have a retro belt from elitefts and it works good enough for me


Here is a reason for getting it sooner rather than later -- they take a while to break in. When you get the belt it will be stiff and difficult to manuver. So you will need time to break it in.